Middle School

Qatar Academy Al-Khor successfully became an IB World School in January 2014 when the school was authorized by the International Baccalaureate  to deliver the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP). IB World Schools including QAK are schools which share a common philosophy, have a commitment to high quality, inquiry based challenging and stimulating international education and where students learn to the best of their ability, enjoying the process and are well prepared for the next stage of their education.

The Middle Years Programme is designed for the 11-16 age-range covering Grades 6-10. The MYP is academically challenging and rigorous, and we continue to consolidate and develop an innovative and dynamic international curriculum which promotes high achievement, develops high expectations, equips students with a vision of the future and helps to develop students with a sense of responsibility and confidence in their ability to make a worthwhile contribution to the community, and world which they live in. In 2015 QAK achieved authorization status for the IB Diploma Programme in Grades 11 and 12. Our current Grade 12 will be the first cohort to graduate in the IB Diploma Programme. As of May 2016 QAK has become a candidate school for the implementation of the IB Primary Years Programme. We look forward to the exciting opportunities in developing the continuum of the IB programmes at QAK.

In order to adhere to its mission statement, QAK is developing its own curriculum, which aims at teaching the best international and local standards. Our continued aim is develop our students with a growing sense of responsible citizenship through service as action, as well as becoming critical thinkers. Special attention is given to the Arabic language where the school selected the Arabic language and Qatar History to meet the standards approved by the Supreme Education Council in Qatar. For Arabic and all other subjects we will be aligning the curriculum in such a way that it fits both the National, and the objectives and requirements of the IB.

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The main aspects of the IB Middle Years Programme model.

  • The student is at the centre of learning.
  • Approaches to learning (ATL) which demonstrates a commitment to approaches to learning as a key component of the MYP for developing skills for learning.
  • Approaches to teaching emphasizing MYP pedagogy, including collaborative learning through inquiry.
  • Conceptual understanding highlighting a concept-driven curriculum.
  • Global contexts, showing how learning best takes place in context on international dimension.
  • Inquiry-based learning through service as action in the community.
  • The MYP culminates in the personal project in Grade 10.
  • The MYP organizes teaching and learning through eight subject groups: Language and Literature (Arabic & English), Language Acquisition (English), Individuals and Societies (Humanities), Sciences, Mathematics, Arts (Visual Arts and Performing Arts Drama), Physical and Health Education, and Design.
  • The students study both disciplinary and interdisciplinary units, which are connected by inquiry into global contexts and key and related concepts. *

 

At Qatar Academy Al-Khor we want students to recognize the connections between the subjects and real life situations, become aware and understand cultural differences and global engagement, and enable them to communicate their knowledge beyond subject boundaries.

Concepts - Key concepts

The MYP identifies 16 Key Concepts to be explored across the MYP curriculum. These key concepts, shown below represent understandings that reach beyond the eight MYP subject groups from which they are drawn. *

Aesthetics Change Communication Communities
Connections Creativity Culture Development
Form Global interactions Identity Logic
Perspective Relationships Systems Time, place and space

Students will also use Related Concepts in order to develop conceptual understanding through inquiry practices.

Global Contexts

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Teaching and learning in the MYP involves understanding concepts in context. Global contexts provide a common language for powerful contextual learning, identifying specific settings, events or circumstances that provide more concrete perspectives for teaching and learning. When teachers select a global context for learning, they are answering the following questions.

  • Why are we engaged in this inquiry?
  • Why are these concepts important?
  • Why is it important for me to understand?
  • Why do people care about this topic?

MYP global contexts provide common points of entry for inquiries into what it means to be internationally minded, framing a curriculum that promotes multilingualism, intercultural understanding and global engagement. These contexts build on the powerful themes of global significance creating relevance for adolescent learners. *

Global Context Focus questions
Identities and relationships Who am I? Who are we?
Orientation in space and time What is the meaning of “where” and “when”?
Personal and cultural expression What is the nature and purpose of creative expression?
Scientific and technical innovation How do we understand the world in which we live?
Globalization and sustainability How is everything connected?
Fairness and development What are the consequences of our common humanity?

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Approaches To Learning (ATL)

Through approaches to learning (ATL) in IB programmes, students develop skills that have relevance across the curriculum that help them “learn how to learn”. ATL skills can be learned and taught, improved with practice and developed incrementally. They provide a solid foundation for learning independently and with others. ATL skills help students prepare for, and demonstrate learning through, meaningful assessment.

They provide a common language that students and teachers can use to reflect on, and articulate on, the process of learning. IB programmes identify five ATL skill categories, expanded into developmentally appropriate skill clusters. *

ATL skill categories MYP ATL skill clusters
Communication I. Communication
Social II Collaboration
Self-management III. Organisation
IV. Affective
V. Reflection
Research VI. Information literacy
VII. Media literacy
Thinking VIII. Critical thinking
IX. Creative thinking
X. Transfer

The focus of ATL in the MYP is on helping students to develop the self-knowledge and skills they need to enjoy a lifetime of learning. ATL skills empower students to succeed in meeting the challenging objectives of MYP subject groups and prepare them for further success in rigorous academic programmes like the DP and the IBCC. *

Assessment in the Middle Years Programme

Assessment at QAK is continuous throughout the year. Teachers assess students regularly both formally and informally and information gathered is used to adjust teaching so it meets the needs of our learners.

Assessment in the MYP is an integral part of teaching and learning. Assessment is the collection of information regarding student progress in relation to identified learning outcomes. Assessment is essential to allow teachers and students to identify strengths and weaknesses. The purpose and means of assessment is clearly explained to students.

The following types of assessment are used at QAK:

Diagnostic Assessment - Also called placement assessment, is used to place students in the appropriate grade level. Teachers also use diagnostic assessment to find out what students already know about a topic before teaching the unit.

Formative Assessment - Ongoing assessment aimed at providing information to guide teaching and improve student learning. Formative assessment is not used in calculating a grade for a student. Examples of formative assessment include homework, class participation

Summative Assessment - The culminating assessment for a unit of work, designed to provide information on the student’s achievement level against specific objectives. Summative assessments are directly based on subject specific criteria. Examples of summative assessment include presentations, extended pieces of writing, exams, tests, research essays, projects, etc.

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Formative and summative assessment:

  • Allows both the student and teacher to assess what the student can do, and how he/she can use knowledge, concepts and skills.
  • Measures the application of knowledge, concepts and skills rather than recalling facts
  • Reflects achievement against criteria for the subject
  • Involves student participation and reflection.
  • Provides students an opportunity to analyse their own learning and to recognise what areas need improvement.
  • Is based on agreed standards of performance suitable for the grade level.
  • Is informative for students, parents and teachers, and provides direction for further instruction.
  • Provides equal opportunities for all students to be successful.
  • Provides an opportunity for students to take responsibility for their own work, their own learning and their own actions and reflect upon these actions to make improvement.

Types of assessment used by teachers include:

  • Homework tasks
  • Individual Projects and investigations
  • Presentations
  • Classroom tasks
  • In-class tests and quizzes
  • Oral presentations
  • Group projects
  • Written tasks
  • Class participation
  • Practical assessments
  • Performances
  • Subject examinations

Assessment in the MYP at QAK

  1. Student assessment will be both formative and summative and will occur on an ongoing basis.
  2. Diagnostic assessment will be completed to formally assess students and determine the efficacy of program standards.
  3. Appropriate summative assessment will reflect collaborative planning and the development of the same assessments for units of study within each subject area. The same shall apply for formal summative examinations where they are age appropriate.   
  4. Summative assessments will be moderated within departments to insure consistency in grading when there is more than one teacher.
  5. Diagnostic testing and any internal tests and examinations will be conducted in a manner consistent with the IB regulations. Every effort will be made to insure students have adequate time for preparation and review.
  6. Student assessments should reflect a variety of measures that give balance to the summative assessment (tests, essays, presentations etc.) consistent with the criteria established for each subject.
  7. Student assessment will be completed according to explicit criteria established at the beginning of each unit of study and assessed using published rubrics.
  8. MYP students will be assessed academically as well as in terms of the Learner Profile or ATL skills as appropriate.
  9. Reporting of student assessment will be completed using a report card consistent with the aims of the MYP
  10. Culminating activities which includes the Personal Project in the MYP, and the Extended Essay in the DP, will be completed by all students.

eAssessment

As part of the successful completion of the Middle Years Programme students in Grades 9 and 10 will be preparing for the MYP eAssessments (external assessments) At the end of Grade 10 students will complete a range of eAssessments and complete ePortfolios from 8 subject areas.

The results of the eAssessments will lead to formally recognised IB MYP Certification.

These are:

  • eAssessment on screen examinations in:
    • Mathematics
    • Arabic Language and Literature
    • Sciences
    • Individuals and Societies (Integrated Humanities)
    • Interdisciplinary understanding
  • ePortfolios (coursework) in:
    • English Language Acquisition
    • Physical and Health education
    • Visual Art or Design
  • The MYP Personal project

Candidates must also meet the school requirements for participation in community service (service as Action). Students receive IB MYP course results for each component completed. The maximum total score for the IB MYP certificate is 56, with a grade from 1-7 assigned to each required eAssessment. Students must achieve a total of at least 28 points, with a grade of ‘3’ or higher in each eAssessment component, to be eligible to receive the IB MYP certificate.

Through the use of technology and the focus on deeper levels of understanding, the examination process will be an engaging, positive experience for students, while ePortfolios provide a stimulating and structured final unit of study. eAssessment will therefore be an appropriate and natural culmination of the student’s time in the MYP.

Middle Years Programme Assessment Criteria

  LANGUAGE & LITERATURE: ARABIC Maximum level for each criteria
Criteria A Analysing 8
Criteria B Organising 8
Criteria C Producing text 8
Criteria D Using language 8

 

  LANGUAGE ACQUISITION: ENGLISH Phases 1-6 Maximum level for each criteria
Criteria A Comprehending spoken and visual text 8
Criteria B Comprehending written and visual text 8
Criteria C Communicating 8
Criteria D Using language 8

 

 MATHEMATICS Maximum level for each criteria
Criteria A Knowing and understanding 8
Criteria B Investigating patterns 8
Criteria C Communicating 8
Criteria D Applying mathematics in real-world contexts 8

 

 SCIENCES Maximum level for each criteria
Criteria A Knowledge & Understanding 8
Criteria B Inquiring and designing 8
Criteria C Processing and evaluating 8
Criteria D Reflecting on the impacts of science 8

 

INDIVIDUALS & SOCIETIES: HUMANITIES Maximum level for each criteria
Criteria A Knowing and understanding 8
Criteria B Investigating 8
Criteria C Communicating 8
Criteria D Thinking critically 8

 

 ARTS: VISUAL ARTS & PERFORMING ARTS Maximum level for each criteria
Criteria A Knowing and understanding 8
Criteria B Developing skills 8
Criteria C Thinking creatively 8
Criteria D Responding 8

 

 ARTS: VISUAL ARTS & PERFORMING ARTS Maximum level for each criteria
Criteria A Knowing and understanding 8
Criteria B Developing skills 8
Criteria C Thinking creatively 8
Criteria D Responding 8

 

 DESIGN: Maximum level for each criteria
Criteria A Inquiring and analyzing 8
Criteria B Developing ideas 8
Criteria C Creating the solution 8
Criteria D Evaluating 8

 

PHYSICAL & HEALTH EDUCATION Maximum level for each criteria
Criteria A Knowing and understanding 8
Criteria B Planning for performance 8
Criteria C Applying and performing 8
Criteria D Reflecting and improving performance 8

IB MYP General Grade Descriptors

Grade Boundary guidelines Grade descriptor
1 1 - 5 Produces work of very limited quality. Conveys many significant misunderstandings or lacks understanding of most concepts and contexts. Very rarely demonstrates critical or creative thinking. Very inflexible, rarely using knowledge or skills.
2 6 - 9 Produces work of limited quality. Expresses misunderstandings or significant gaps in understanding for many concepts and contexts. Infrequently demonstrates critical or creative thinking. Generally inflexible in the use of knowledge and skills, infrequently applying knowledge and skills.
3 10 - 14 Produces work of an acceptable quality. Communicates basic understanding of many concepts and contexts, with occasionally significant misunderstandings or gaps. Begins to demonstrate some basic critical and creative thinking. Is often inflexible in the use of knowledge and skills, requiring support even in familiar classroom situations.
4 15 - 18 Produces good-quality work. Communicates basic understanding of most concepts and contexts with few misunderstandings and minor gaps. Often demonstrates basic critical and creative thinking. Uses knowledge and skills with some flexibility in familiar classroom situations, but requires support in unfamiliar situations.
5 19 - 23 Produces generally high-quality work. Communicates secure understanding of concepts and contexts. Demonstrates critical and creative thinking, sometimes with sophistication. Uses knowledge and skills in familiar classroom and real-world situations and, with support, some unfamiliar real-world situations.
6 24 - 27 Produces high-quality, occasionally innovative work. Communicates extensive understanding of concepts and contexts. Demonstrates critical and creative thinking, frequently with sophistication. Uses knowledge and skills in familiar and unfamiliar classroom and real-world situations, often with independence.
7 28 - 32 Produces high-quality, frequently innovative work. Communicates comprehensive, nuanced understanding of concepts and contexts. Consistently demonstrates sophisticated critical and creative thinking. Frequently transfers knowledge and skills with independence and expertise in a variety of complex classroom and real-world situations.

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The Personal Project

The Personal Project is a mandatory culminating project in the Middle Years Programme, which is completed by students in the final year of the MYP in Grade 10. It is an opportunity to explore a topic which interests students, to develop their approaches to learning skills further and to create something which is unique and personal to the student. It is a celebration of the accumulation of student learning in the Middle Years Programme

The aims of the MYP projects are to encourage and enable students to:

  • Participate in a sustained, self-directed inquiry within a global context
  • Generate creative new insights and develop deeper understandings through      in-depth investigation
  • Demonstrate the skills, attitudes and knowledge required to complete a project over an extended period of time
  • Communicate effectively in a variety of situations
  • Demonstrate responsible action through, or as a result of, learning
  • Appreciate the process of learning and take pride in their accomplishments.

Students must identify one of the global contexts for their MYP project, to establish the relevance of their inquiry (why it matters).

Students create three items:

  • A process journal (similar to the design cycle folder in Design technology or developmental workbook in the arts)
  • A product or outcome (this will be displayed in the personal project exhibition at the end of the process)
  •  A project essay (written component)

Students are assessed on the following criteria for MYP Projects.

  Criteria Highest Achievement Level
A Investigating 8
B Planning 8
C Taking action 8
D Reflecting 8

The Learner Profile

In conclusion, we at QAK look forward to promoting the education of the whole person and developing an international perspective among our students and consider someone else’s point of view that might differ from theirs. Through the IB Learner Profile, we all strive at Qatar Academy Al-Khor to be: Inquirers, Knowledgeable, Thinkers, Communicators, Principled, Open-minded, Caring, Risk-takers, Balanced, and Reflective.

 

* Adapted from IB MYP From Principles Into Practice (IB 2014)